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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Cisco CEO John Chambers gets 80% raise


Cisco CEO John Chambers scored $21 million in total compensation in the company's fiscal year 2013.

Cisco CEO John Chambers gets 80% raise
By Julianne Pepitone
September 30, 2013: 7:12 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) A massive stock award announced Monday propels Cisco CEO John Chambers into the upper tier of high-paid tech CEOs.

In a regulatory document filed late Monday, Cisco revealed that Chambers received $15.2 million worth of stock awards for the company's fiscal 2013 -- nearly double the $7.3 million he scored in 2012.

Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) didn't specify the reasons behind the huge increase. The company was more clear about the reason for an increase in another piece of his compensation package: a salary boost to $1.1 million from $375,000.


While Cisco has generally posted decent financial results in recent quarters, the company was forced to announce 4,000 job cuts during its report in August. Shares are down 3.7% over the past three months but up 19.3% year to date.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 08:43 AM (1 replies)

US diplomats expelled from Venezuela for conspiring with 'extreme right'


President Nicolás Maduro has announced the explusion of three US officials from Venezuela.

US diplomats expelled from Venezuela for conspiring with 'extreme right'
Associated Press in Caracas
theguardian.com, Monday 30 September 2013 20.54 EDT

President Nicolás Maduro announced on Monday the expulsion of the top US diplomat in Venezuela and two other embassy employees for allegedly conspiring with "the extreme right" to sabotage the economy and power grid.

The US embassy said it had not yet received notification and called the accusations unfounded.

Maduro made the announcement during a live TV appearance and said they had 48 hours to leave the country.

"Out of Venezuela," the leader shouted, then added in English: "Yankees go home!"
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 07:53 AM (9 replies)

Koch Brothers Block Ability of Congress to Fight Climate War


Koch Brothers Block Ability of Congress to Fight Climate War
by Peter G. Cohen | September 29, 2013 - 8:15am

The victims of storms Sandy and Katrina, of droughts, floods and wildfires, will tell you that the death and destruction of Climate Change is a real threat to our national life. So why has the Congress failed to reduce our carbon output or to enact defenses against the events we cannot prevent?

Why is it that when most of the world is reducing the burning of carbon, the United States has only the EPA to limit the burning of fossil fuels? From 2001 to 2012 the National Climatic Data Center has recorded $487 Billion in property damage and 3,952 deaths in the United States. While we lavish more money on the military than it requests, the Congress is doing little or nothing to control or to reduce the impact of climate change?

“Fossil-fuel companies like Exxon and Peabody Energy — which obviously have a business interest in slowing any attempt to reduce carbon emissions — have combined with traditionally conservative corporate groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and conservative foundations like the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, to raise doubts about the basic validity of what is, essentially, a settled scientific truth.” -- Who’s Bankrolling Climate Change Deniers? -- Time.com, October 4, 2011.

Now we learn that the Koch Bros. have gotten 169 Members of Congress to sign a Climate Obstruction Pledge. In other words, they will do nothing to reduce our carbon output or its deadly events.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 07:39 AM (0 replies)

More on the Abenomics Flimflam


More on the Abenomics Flimflam
by Mike Whitney | September 30, 2013 - 8:19am

Abenomics is largely a bunko-scam wrapped in public relations gibberish. It has no chance of producing a strong, sustainable economic recovery. The real aim of the policy is to temporarily juice GDP with a sizable blast of fiscal stimulus ($100 billion) so the Bank of Japan can stealthily transfer more money to its chiseling investor friends via its bond buying program called QE. In other words, the program works the same way it does in the US, the only difference is the scale of the operation and a number of anti-worker provisions touted as “critical reforms”. Sound familiar?

Naturally, Abenomics–which is named after right-wing loony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe–has attracted worldwide attention for its bold “shock and awe” approach to monetary policy. Liberal economists in the US –notably Stiglitz and Krugman—are absolutely gaga over the program and just about wet themselves every time they talk about it. They seem to think that the BoJ’s bond buying blitz will fare better in the Land of the Rising Sun then it has in America where the sputtering economy is still on life support five years after the market crashed.

Why are they so optimistic? Probably because BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda has taken a “damn the torpedoes” approach and pledged to double the money supply in two years in an effort to pull the economy out of 15 years of deflation. Kuroda figures that raising prices will boost spending and corporate investment laying the groundwork for more activity and hiring, greater demand and stronger growth. The only bugaboo is how to get all that newly-minted money into the economy. As Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has discovered, the liquidity that flows into bond purchases stays locked in the financial system making stocks bubbly, but leaving the real economy largely unaffected. That’s why unemployment in the US is still above 7 percent and GDP is in the 2 percent-range even while the Fed’s balance sheet has ballooned by $3 trillion. It’s because trickle down doesn’t work for shit.

That doesn’t mean that Abenomics hasn’t had an impact. It has. It’s slashed the value of the yen and sent equities into the stratosphere. It’s also increased exports by many orders of magnitude. Too bad import prices have been rising at the same time or it might have made a difference. Check out this recent update from the Testosterone Pit:
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 07:27 AM (0 replies)

The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown


The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown
Published on Monday, September 30, 2013 by Common Dreams
by Norman Solomon

To the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So -- to ensure total fulfillment of Big Brother’s vast responsibilities -- the National Security Agency is insulated from any fiscal disruption.


At the top of the federal government, even a brief shutdown of “core NSA operations” is unthinkable. But at the grassroots, a permanent shutdown of the NSA should be more than thinkable; we should strive to make it achievable.


“The U.S. government has gone further than any previous government … in setting up machinery that satisfies certain tendencies that are in the genetic code of totalitarianism,” Jonathan Schell wrote in The Nation as this fall began. “One is the ambition to invade personal privacy without check or possibility of individual protection. This was impossible in the era of mere phone wiretapping, before the recent explosion of electronic communications -- before the cellphones that disclose the whereabouts of their owners, the personal computers with their masses of personal data and easily penetrated defenses, the e-mails that flow through readily tapped cables and servers, the biometrics, the street-corner surveillance cameras.”

“But now,” Schell continued, “to borrow the name of an intelligence program from the Bush years, ‘Total Information Awareness’ is technologically within reach. The Bush and Obama administrations have taken giant strides in this direction.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 07:04 AM (10 replies)

Target or Not, the NSA is Storing the Metadata of Millions


New report directly contradicts claims by Obama that the NSA only stores information from people who are specifically targeted

Target or Not, the NSA is Storing the Metadata of Millions
Published on Monday, September 30, 2013 by Common Dreams
Target or Not, the NSA is Storing the Metadata of Millions
- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

The NSA is recording the online metadata of millions of people—whether or not they are on the NSA target list—and dumping it into a repository where it is stored and searchable for up to a year, the Guardian revealed Monday citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

This new revelation directly contradicts claims by President Obama that the NSA only stores information from people who are specifically targeted.

Online metadata—which includes nearly every online activity, from browser history to email activity—is dumped by the NSA into a database codenamed Marina, internal NSA documents reveal. This data is then stored for up to a year. Guardian journalist James Ball reports:

"The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target," the analysts' guide explains. "This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development."
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 06:59 AM (0 replies)

Report: Military Lost Control of F-35 Contractors, Errors Abound


Report: Military Lost Control of F-35 Contractors, Errors Abound
Sept. 30, 2013

The military's watchdog has found hundreds of flaws in the way giant defense contractors produced the F-35 fighter jet – flaws that made what was already the most expensive weapons system in history even more costly to American taxpayers and flaws that should have been caught by the program's military overseers.

The Department of Defense Inspector General released a 126-page report today describing 719 "issues" it found with the jet's primary manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, and five other major contractors as they assembled planes for the estimated nearly $400 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. It also listed failures of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), the military-led organization in charge of putting the planes in the air for three services in the American military, for not ensuring "Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors were applying rigor to design, manufacturing, and quality assurance" among other things. Both Lockheed Martin and the JPO said the report was old news and that the issues have been mostly addressed.

Flaws found on the production line, according to the DOD IG, included "uncontrolled or unapproved" design changes in production planning, contractor personnel who were not following written manufacturing and assembly process instructions, inadequate calibration management systems that could hinder testing and employees with expired certifications for critical tasks like ejection seat installation or "explosives care."

Taken together, the DOD IG said the flaws "could adversely affect aircraft performance, reliability, maintainability, and ultimately program cost."
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 06:51 AM (0 replies)

NSA Has Built Its Own, Secret, Warrantless, Shadow Social Network, And You've Already Joined It


NSA Has Built Its Own, Secret, Warrantless, Shadow Social Network, And You've Already Joined It
from the getprsm dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 30th 2013 5:43am

Soon after the very earliest reporting on Ed Snowden's leaked documents about PRISM, the folks from Datacoup put together the very amusing GETPRSM website, which looks very much like the announcement of a new social network, but (the joke is) it's really the NSA scooping up all our data and making the connections. It's pretty funny. Except, of course, when you find out that it's real. And, yes, that seems to be the latest revelation out of Ed Snowden's leaks. The NY Times has an article by James Risen and Laura Poitras (what a combo reporting team there!) detailing how the NSA has basically built its own "shadow" social network in which it tries to create a "social graph" of pretty much everyone that everyone knows, foreign or American, and it all happens (of course) without a warrant. And, note, this is relatively new:

The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

There were apparently two policy changes that allowed this to happen, and both occurred in the past three years. First, in November of 2010, the NSA was allowed to start looking at phone call and email logs of Americans to try to help figure out associations for "foreign intelligence purposes." Note that phrase. We'll come back to it. For years, the NSA had been barred from viewing any content on US persons, and the NSA, President Obama and others have continued to insist to this day that there are minimization procedures that prevent spying on Americans. Except, this latest revelation shows that, yet again, this isn't actually true.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 06:17 AM (2 replies)

The West Could Easily Fail in Afghanistan


How long then can Karzai’s successor last without the support of NATO?

The West Could Easily Fail in Afghanistan
die Zeit, Germany
By Theo Sommer
Translated By Kelly Barksdale
24 September 2013
Edited by Brent Landon

In the excitement of the German elections and the uproar over the use of poison gas in Syria, the situation in Afghanistan has fallen under the radar. After 12 years, a war in which even Germany is heavily invested is coming to an end. This was never a war that could be won. Again and again, international troops have been killed, most recently last weekend. Now the question is whether any sort of peace can be salvaged from the fog of war.

The Afghans are preparing for a presidential election on April 5, 2014. Starting now, applicants for the successor of Hamid Karzai can register with the election commission. It is still unclear who could run as a favorite. It is also undetermined whether the current state of the nation’s security will allow for an undisturbed free election.

In the meantime, the ISAF allies have begun pulling troops, weapons and machinery out of Afghanistan. By the end of 2014, they want to have completely withdrawn all fighting troops. After that, only mission Resolute Support will remain: a rearguard commissioned to educate and offer counsel, with between 12,000 and 20,000 soldiers. That’s what Washington is saying. Germany, until now the third largest provider of troops, has offered 600 to 800 men. But yet again, NATO waits on Barack Obama’s personal decision.

It is not an easy decision for the U.S. president to make. He and the intractable Karzai disagree about the status of the American troops: Karzai refuses to sign any agreement that will solidify the current arrangement, in which U.S. troops stand exclusively under U.S. military jurisdiction. Obama has already warned that he, in that case, supports a zero option, in which no troops at all would remain stationed in Afghanistan.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 05:54 AM (1 replies)

Two U.S. generals fired after security lapse at Afghan base


Two U.S. generals fired after security lapse at Afghan base
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, September 30, 2013 21:41 EDT

The commandant of the US Marine Corps sacked two generals in the wake of a deadly attack last year by the Taliban on a major NATO base in Afghanistan.

General James Amos announced the extraordinary decision after a military investigation found Major General Charles Gurganus and Major General Gregg Sturdevant failed to take sufficient action to safeguard the base from a possible assault by insurgents, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Two Marines were killed in the September 14-15 attack on Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan, eight others were wounded and six fighter aircraft were destroyed.


However, Amos found that the commanders “did not exercise the level of judgment expected of General Officers” and had to be held accountable.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 05:05 AM (0 replies)
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